This Human Condition are an electronic duo from Bristol, formed in early 2015. Blending a whole gamut of different electronic music influences including synthpop, trip hop, dance, pop, house, trance and dubstep, they describe their genre as ‘Handbag Electro Punk’ and quite frankly, that description alone was enough to make us want to chat to them as part of our Introducing series. Read on for a little more insight into this most excellent band.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What’s the story behind This Human Condition and how would you describe your sound?
Jamie; The first time I met Mister Minchie (as he likes to be called) was in a club, he was dressed as Dracula. He invited me to this song writers circle support group he set up, that’s where we properly got to know each other. An opportunity came up to write a song for the Rugby League World Cup 2013, put together by Quentin Burton from the Song Smith auditions which we collaborated on and ended up with a track on that album called ‘Pride In All Of Us’. I asked Minchie to help me out with a track I was working on called ‘I Know Pain’ and he asked for my help with a track of his called ‘Fulfil This Need’, both of which ended up on our first EP. The songwriters Circle did a charity benefit concert for a member who sadly passed away and that was the first time we performed together. We did several open mics and found we worked well together. In January 2015 we decided to form This Human Condition. We describe our sound as ‘avant-garde electronic handbag punk’. Other people have described our sound as early Depeche Mode meets a darker more sinister version of Erasure. Our track Psychotropic has been described as ‘The Prodigy meets Boy George’ and what is exciting for us is that we are still developing our sound.
What motivates you and inspires your music, aesthetic and vibe?
What we both loved about the name ‘This Human Condition’ is the vast umbrella of subject matter we can write about inspired by that name alone. We share a love of writing about other people’s stories, whether it’s people we know or people we haven’t met, it doesn’t really matter. Also with songs like ‘Telepathic Heights’, Inspired by Riot, and essentially a community hitting rock bottom & ‘Rise’ inspired by a Ted Talk by Paul Gilding called ‘The Earth Is Full’ We realised we have a common theme with our songs they seem to be about hitting rock bottom and rebuilding to become stronger. In our songs so far we have explored themes dealing with Abuse, Depression, Family Issues, Gender Dysphoria, Psychosis, Relationships, Sexuality & Suicide and we try to keep the general vibe deep and interesting. It’s such a thrill when people tell you they relate to your songs that definitely motives us to write more.
Your debut album was released this April, and very nice it is too. The record includes a whole host of musical influences and themes – did you have a particular sound or direction in mind when you started putting together the tracks for the album, or did they just evolve into what became the final product?
Jamie; Not really, We definitely weren’t trying to please anyone but ourselves because we didn’t think anyone else would actually like it, as it’s quite experimental in places. We just went with what we loved. At that time we were listening to John Grant & FKA twigs and I remember us saying it would be good to go in that direction, then the opposite happened and all this other stuff came out of us. It wasn’t until the end of the album we realised we had a common thread lyrically. Someone once said to me; To be in control you have to know how to be out of control. We very much felt out of control making this album.
Mister Minchine; For me, it evolved. We eventually saw an obvious story from song to song about going through dark times and exercising demons, to reach a point of strength to come out fighting.
You both had solo projects before collaborating with This Human Condition. Are your solo projects still active, and is the band’s material a good reflection of your solo output or something entirely new?
Jamie; As we have learned, this project demands a lot of attention so everything has gone on hold solo wise. Sometimes an idea comes to me for a song and I know is not right for this project so I just file it away for future reference. My solo stuff is quite different. I released a solo track called ‘Wish’ which is kinda gypsy acoustic folk. I was in a few bands previously so I have some acoustic, indie & rock tracks. So, for me, this way of working is quite new.
Mister Minchie; I still run the Bristol Songwriters Circle when I can, usually once a month.
Your video for Telepathic Heights features some pretty powerful imagery and a strong narrative. How did you come up with the concept for the video, and what made you choose the footage you used to go alongside the track?
I had a clear vision for Telepathic Heights right from the start. I wrote some of the lyrics during the riot as I could see everything from my flat, plus I couldn’t sleep. I was literally writing down what I was seeing & feeling. Then I forgot about the song and explained the concept to my producer friend Mordicus. Who ended up producing the song for me. He calls it Electro Ghetto. Video wise I thought we could re-create a riot, but without a big budget, I started watching footage on YouTube. I managed to get permission to use about 20 minutes of footage from the actual riot from footage I thought would work. I spent a while picking out powerful images, zooming in on some bits and slowing some bits down. I tried cutting away to shots of us In between the riot footage but that looked naff. So I made the decision not to include us in the video and let the footage speak for itself. It ended up being quite powerful & made me quite emotional when I watch the finished version.
What’s next for This Human Condition? Any upcoming live dates or future release info that you can share?
This year we will release another single/Video. We’re still undecided as to which track will be the next single. Any idea’s welcome? We’re just thinking about doing some live UK dates later on this year. We will be performing at Chk One at an Electronic event at The Attic Bar, Stokes Croft in October. Date to be confirmed. We keep our website and social networks regularly updated though so watch those spaces.